In this post, I will share my experience in applying for membership in a cooperative in the Philippines. More specifically, I will talk about the requirements and processes I have undergone before I could deposit money as well as explain why I joined in the first place.
What is a cooperative?
Let’s start by defining the term cooperative.
According to Republic Act No. 9520 or “Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008”, a cooperative is an autonomous and duly registered association of persons, with a common bond of interest, who have voluntarily joined together to achieve their social, economic, and cultural needs and aspirations by making equitable contributions to the capital required, patronizing their products and services and accepting a fair share of the risks and benefits of the undertaking in accordance with universally accepted cooperative principles.
In other words, it is made up of a group of people who in their own free will put their capital for the benefit of all the members. What is being emphasized here is the sense of community. It also reflects its main purpose why this was created which is to help one another rather than individual gains of only a few people, especially those in high position.
Cooperative Membership Application
Step 1: Orientation/ Seminar
Firstly, I will enumerate the steps I did before becoming a member of a coop in our town.
Every cooperative has its processes before a person will be approved. For instance, in my coop, it is compulsory to attend a half-day orientation. Like in any organizations, I believe in its importance so everyone will fully understand the purpose and benefits of cooperatives and to allocate enough time for questions.
On the day of the seminar…
Luckily for me, there was an available schedule on the weekend when I checked. So, I was able to participate in the seminar in which they explained the history and aims of the coop as well as the benefits and requirements for loans.
It was very informational and truthfully, I believe cooperatives are a great help for everyone financially. Say, I want to apply for a loan like for a future project or travel expenses, they have a regular loan for that. If you are also a student or have children in college, they have educational loans in case you come short of money. There is also a car or motorcycle loan if you want to own one. It’s pretty impressive the assistance it can offer to its members.
However, what we should always examine before applying for loans is our ability to pay. I think that’s the most important thing to consider- Do we have the means to pay during the entire duration of the loan? We have to assess ourselves- consider if our job is stable or not. If yes, do we have the extra income intended for payment of the loan? Seriously think about it or else, we will only cause ourselves worries and problems in the long run.
Step 2: Application & Background Check
After the seminar, they provided us application forms. I filled out all the information they asked as honestly as I could. Otherwise, I will be disqualified and be banned from joining. Besides, before they will approve it, they will do a check and interview to see if the applicant is credible or not.
In my case, someone from the coop visited where I’m staying in town and interviewed my aunts. =) When I arrived home that day, they told me they were asked questions about my childhood and my life in general.
Step 3: Approval & Deposit
I knew my application was approved through a text message confirming that I passed and that I can come to their office and deposit money for my fixed and savings account. I will have to bring a valid ID and 1×1 picture and of course money.
Duration of the Application
In terms of the duration of the whole process, it took a total of 4 weeks.
In the application form, one of the questions asked was what my goal amount is for the cooperative in which I wrote 100,000 PHP. Although my deposit amount is much lesser than, my goal is to reach 100K or more in 5 years time. =)
In summary, my experience in applying for a coop membership took time and effort. But the benefits if you become a member are great especially in times of financial needs. I agree that it’s a good and much safer way of investing and saving money.
During the seminar, they jokingly mentioned KAPA several times comparing it to them in terms of legalities. I get their point because investing in cooperatives is much safer than in other investment schemes which we don’t know if they’re legal or not. They also shared a story that when KAPA was still open, there were only a few people attending or worse, people started withdrawing their shares and savings to put into KAPA.
Now, many people in town are back to cooperatives. =)
I hope I was able to shed some light to others who are thinking about investing in cooperatives too. Like in my other posts, I always say, it’s your money but be smart of how you use or keep it.